Shiitake Mushroom (White Flower Mushroom, Bai Hua Gu)
The widely loved shiitake mushroom is known in Chinese as xiang gu, or fragrant mushroom, due to its intense umami taste. And the very best xiang gu is called bai hua gu, or white flower mushroom, because its cap features deep, white cracks that resemble a flower.
Dried flower mushrooms lend a powerful, earthy aroma and flavor to all kinds of Chinese braises and soups.
To rehydrate, rinse mushrooms to clean, then soak in cool water for 4-6 hours, until soft and fragrant. In a pinch, you can use very warm water, but the hotter the water and quicker the soaking process, the tougher the mushroom. Retain the flavorful mushroom water for use as a broth or flavoring agent.
These medium-small but meaty mushrooms are a nice size for serving whole.
Source: Cultivated in Nanyang, Henan Province
Size: 3.5 ounces (100 grams)